It is pretty interesting how the word ‘Healthcare’ has become so politicized that it may literally take a conscious effort to recall that the term emanated from both ‘Health’ + ‘Care”, so let’s do a really simple breakdown of what healthcare entails shall we?
Healthcare is defined by the English dictionary as the prevention, treatment, management of illness and injury and the preservation of mental and physical well being through the services rendered by medical and para-medical personnel.
Why is healthcare so roped into the politics of a Nation’s? It is simply because the central idea/the main objective of a good health care system is to implement a satisfactory regimen, be free of ridicule or hostility while ensuring long lasting good health.
A well structured healthcare system essentially aims at achieving the following:
- Understand and possibly avert undesirable and potentially dangerous outcomes in patients by ensuring proper communication between practioners, and reducing conflicting advice and keeping value judgment to the barest minimum.
- Allow patients to exercise their choice of treatment in an open environment characterized by good communication, respect and due consideration of resources.
Thus the best possible practice of healthcare is that which encompasses compassionate care given with empathy, understanding and good communication even when physical resources are limited.
Worldwide, healthcare systems are laden with diverse challenges, in fact, with the exception of Countries like Canada, good healthcare is unfortunately only available to those who can afford it. Quality of healthcare in resource poor countries is highly substandard- sorry, guess that is not news to you. The key problems of healthcare are that first and foremost, a good healthcare system is expensive! Sadly the health of the patient is not often the first consideration of many healthcare providers hence poor beneficence- an integral part of the medical practice that ought to morally constrain ALL the actions of the healthcare giver to primarily act first in the interest of the patient. Also, there is a lot of inappropriate value judgment seen in cases were merit of healthcare services is gotten based on financial, social and political status of an individual.
In the presence of a good and functional healthcare system the following advantages are obtainable:
- Improved gross domestic product of a country through constructive cooperation across the health sector
- Promoted unity as every individual is given priority
- Promoted research and prevention of diseases- which is easier, cheaper and more effective.
KEY HEALTHCARE CONCERNS. In the end, irrespective of whatever level of access a person has to quality healthcare either via health insurance scheme coverage or otherwise, the fundamental health care concerns are:
i. EXERCISE. When done regularly, it improved fitness, and sustains heart and lung efficiency amongst many other benefits
ii. DIET. A healthy diet contains fruits and vegetables, water, fibre, high energy carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, polyunsaturated fatty acids (mainly of plant origin) which keep blood cholesterol levels low.
iii. WEIGHT. Obesity is described as a body mass index, BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 and it is associated with coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, stroke , muscular and joint problems.
iv. SMOKING. Smoking is strongly linked to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, bronchitis
v. ALCHOHOL. The maximum recommended intake per week is 21 units for men and 14units for women (one glass of beer or wine is equivalent to one unit). Binge drinking and excessive intake may lead to dependence, liver damage and immune compromise.
All these behavioural adaptations leads to one goal: to achieve a healthy lifestyle, after all, as the definition goes, Health simply means being sound in body and mind and having powers of growth, development, healing and regeneration- so Stay healthy!